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Military Tactics: The George Patton Quiz
by Staff
Gen. George S. Patton Jr. was a skilled military leader whose aggression and ability to read a battlefield led to many successes in World War II. He helped define American armored warfare doctrine. How much do you know about his battlefield tactics?

What did Patton think was the defining characteristic of desert tank warfare?

  • a total lack of cover
  • difficulty of maintaining supply lines
  • identifying battle lines without accurate maps

In the absence of cover, what was a ground force's best form of protection?

  • trenches
  • building man-made cover
  • constant reconnaissance

How were tanks and trucks supposed to arrange themselves to avoid strafing and bombing attacks from aircraft?

  • in a double file column
  • in tight clusters so the lead unit provided cover
  • widely dispersed

What was the minimum distance between tanks and trucks underway advocated by Patton?

  • 75 yards (69 meters)
  • 300 yards
  • 10 yards

True or false: Patton's preference for traveling tanks was a disciplined single file column.

  • true
  • false

What was Patton's advice for pneumatic tires driving over sand?

  • They could be deflated to as low as 70 percent air pressure for better traction.
  • They should be wrapped in chains for traction.
  • They should be avoided completely in favor of tracked vehicles.

What did Patton believe was the key to coordinating reconnaissance with artillery and dispersed units?

  • two-way radios
  • imaginative commanders
  • light tanks

What was the basis of Patton's doctrine with the U.S. Third Army late in the war when it regarded attacking Nazis in Europe?

  • constant attack
  • incremental advance
  • regroup and consolidate

True or false: Patton's aggression was successful but came at the cost of terrible American casualties.

  • true
  • false

Aside from recon and vehicle dispersal, what else did Patton believe was crucial in desert tank warfare?

  • fast tanks
  • accurate weather reports
  • vehicle maintenance

In his rush to capture Messina, Italy, during the invasion of Sicily, Patton ordered several amphibious landings. Why?

  • to establish a beachhead where he could then land more troops and supplies
  • to try to get troops behind Axis lines, disrupting their withdrawal and pressuring their front lines
  • to give his troops practice for the eventual Normandy, France, invasion

What tactical maneuver did Patton execute while commanding the First United States Army Group in the D-Day invasion?

  • He set up artillery units on anchored barges to provide close artillery support.
  • None — the First United States Army Group was a fake, "phantom" army created entirely to deceive the Nazis as to the location of the actual invasion.
  • He coordinated aerial spotters with a widely dispersed tank division to pinpoint Nazi defensive positions.

During the drive to recapture France, Patton's armored units adopted a practice in which gunfire, particularly using .50-caliber M2 Browning machine guns, would be trained on any location along the path of advance that might offer cover to waiting German troops, flushing them out. What is the term for this practice?

  • reconnaissance by fire
  • enfilade
  • indirect fire

What characteristic of U.S. Sherman tanks allowed armored units to advance through France with speed?

  • raw horsepower
  • mechanical reliability
  • specialized suspension components

What was the name of the truck convoy system that effectively supplied Patton's Third Army (and other Allied armies) in their advance through France?

  • the Red Ball Express
  • the Lorraine Pipeline
  • the A Train

Patton was able to quickly redirect his forces from their rapid advance to fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. How many divisions was he able to reposition in just three days?

  • six
  • four
  • two

When the Third Army ran short of fuel and supplies, partly because the fuel was being sent to other units, how did it acquire extra supplies?

  • They pretended to be from the other units and effectively "stole" the fuel.
  • They used captured German equipment and supplies.
  • They radioed for supplies to be air-dropped to their locations.

Not all of Patton's tactical decisions were brilliant. His disastrous raid on the Hammelburg, Germany, prisoner-of-war camp was intended to rescue whom?

  • Patton's cousin
  • a corporal that Patton had been childhood friends with
  • Patton's son-in-law

Where did Patton develop his desert tank doctrine?

  • at the Desert Training Center in the Mojave Desert
  • in a campaign in the Sahara Desert in World War I
  • in Massachusetts

According to Patton, what was the maximum distance allowable between task forces (discrete combat groups) when moving abreast?

  • line of sight
  • 300 yards (274 meters)
  • 1000 yards

Patton used two types of units in his advance guard, which preceded the main body by about a mile and aided in reconnaissance: half-tracks and quarter-ton trucks together, and …

  • hydrogen airships
  • light tanks
  • mine-sweepers

Where did Patton believe tank destroyers should be positioned relative to the main force of his tanks?

  • at the rear, protecting the artillery and providing support fire
  • providing support fire from a flanking position
  • at the front line, preventing enemy tanks from infiltrating his tank lines

Why did Patton insist that tank destroyers and mobile artillery have .50-caliber machine guns whenever possible?

  • They were useful against infantry waiting in ambush.
  • They provided effective anti-aircraft fire against low-flying strafing or bombing runs.
  • They could penetrate thinly armored Italian tanks at close range.

True or false: Patton saw combat as a fluid, complex situation, and he thought that commanders had to be creative and adaptable to succeed.

  • true
  • false

Although desert combat is notable for its lack of terrain, what could be taken advantage of if attacking from the correct direction?

  • the weather
  • the sun
  • magnetic compasses

How did Patton tell tank crews to position themselves relative to incoming fire?

  • from high ground, to minimize the profile of the tank from the enemy's point of view
  • at an angle, to maximize the chance that an incoming round would deflect off their armor
  • dead on

Patton's preferred positioning for tanks was in a depression or behind a hill, with just the turret and gun exposed. This is known as …

  • echelon
  • enfilade
  • defilade

When moving across open terrain, tanks should do what, according to Patton?

  • frequently change direction by 45 degrees or more
  • drive in the path of the tank ahead, to avoid mines
  • approach slopes from an oblique angle

Toward the end of a battle, what did Patton think artillery should do?

  • leave the battlefield entirely to conserve ammunition and equipment
  • move to a safe location and continue providing indirect fire if possible
  • move toward the battle, often engaging in direct fire

True or false: Patton felt the only real use of aircraft in a tank battle was for reconnaissance.

  • true
  • false